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EXCERPT: Death in Sensible Circumstances

Hello, Readers!

First, I want to thank those of you who write me with suggestions, appreciation, and kind words. I take your comments and ideas most seriously. Recently, someone requested that I used a darker font, so here it is, and I hope it's easier to read.

I think I've said this before, but I have the utmost respect for mystery and crime writers. They have to do so much intricate plotting and make sure everything in the story answers the many questions that are brought up throughout. But this week, I have a writer who not only does that, but does it in the style of Jane Austen! How amazing is THAT?

For those of you who are Jane Austen fans, imagine some of the characters from Sense and Sensibility involved in a murder mystery, and now you know what Riana Everly loves to write. Riana, welcome to Brook's Journal and thanks so much for sharing a snippet of your work with us this week.

Read ON, everybody!!!

Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery

(Miss Mary Investigates, book 4)


“And thus our predicament,” Brandon looked up from the pamphlet on the desk and took his seat once more.

“Yes. We have two questions that require answers. The first: were Robert Ferrars and Lucy Steele really married? We have only her word that they were so, and that this marriage occurred within the last three months, after Mrs. Ferrars died and after Robert inherited her wealth. The second question: Assuming that Miss Steele is, indeed, with child, and assuming the child’s father is Robert, did he know of her condition before he died?”

“I have come to the right man.” Brandon dipped his head in respect.

“I shall do what I can to discover the answers.” Alexander took a moment to make a series of notes on the sheet of paper before him. “I need not impress upon you the import of this last point. I can trust your discretion? I must speak to her before she discovers how key this is to her case. But now I have some questions of my own. Perhaps you will have some information for me.”

“Please.” Brandon waved an open palm in invitation.

“What were Miss Steele’s circumstances before this possible marriage?”

Brandon thought. “She is not wealthy. Her mother is deceased and her father is not a rich man. She and her sister Anne—Nancy—stay with a variety of friends and relations around the country. Most recently they have been visiting a distant relation in Devonshire, a friend of mine by the name of Mrs. Jennings, but whilst in London, they stay with other relations.”

“So, she would not have had a large dowry; Robert would not have gained by this marriage.”

“No, indeed. She would have been the one to benefit.”

“Then it is greatly to her detriment that this marriage—if it occurred—is not documented, for she may lose a great deal.”

Brandon, terse as always, merely nodded.

“I also wish to learn more of the brother, Edward. If Miss Steele’s claim is not upheld, he will regain what he lost by his mother’s actions and will become a wealthy man again.”

“You suspect him of ill-doing?” Brandon looked shocked and his shoulders stiffened under his uniform coat. “I could hardly believe that of Edward Ferrars! A more modest, self-effacing and sincere man I cannot imagine. I have offered him the living at Delaford, for he wishes to take orders. He was beyond grateful and appreciative of the offer, for all that the living will provide only two hundred and fifty a year. Surely such a man would never be involved in anything improper…”

Alexander shrugged. “I mean no disrespect. I merely have questions that I must ask.”

Brandon relaxed. “Yes. Of course.”

“Did the Runners have any concerns about Mr. Robert’s death? There was nothing untoward? They had no suspicions other than theft?”

Another shake of the head. “No. Robert was not circumspect about making his new circumstances known. He was a young man still, and not so wise. He had begun spending freely and, according to people I know, was becoming a regular patron at gaming tables around London. If some footpads were looking for a man to rob, they would not have to look hard to find Robert Ferrars. The Runners were confident the motive was theft. He was found all but naked. Every coin, his watch, everything of value was gone. Even his boots.”

“How did they know who it was?” Another question that had to be asked.

“He was well enough known. As badly beaten as he was, he was not disfigured. I was walking by when the Runners were seeking someone to put a name to him. It was undoubtedly him.”

“I am sorry. That cannot have been easy.”

Brandon seemed to shrink. “No. And I was the unhappy one to tell his—” He stopped. “Oh my God.”

Alexander snapped his head up. “What is it? What is wrong, Colonel?”

“There is something you ought to know. The import of it only occurred to me now.” He took a great breath. “It came as a great shock to us all. Assuming her claims are correct, before she married Mr. Robert Ferrars, Lucy Steele was engaged to Robert’s brother Edward.”

All About the Book

A Jane Austen-inspired mystery, set in the world of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, being the fourth novel in the Miss Mary Investigates series.

When Mary Bennet befriends Elinor Dashwood, she expects to become part of the young lady’s circle and be introduced to her friends and relations. She does not expect that one of this circle should die, far too young, and in most unfortunate circumstances. Worse, Elinor is secretly in love with one of the suspects, Edward Ferrars, and he is inconveniently engaged to somebody else. When an investigator is called in to assist, Mary is more surprised still.

Alexander Lyons expects to find death and deceit in his line of work, but he does not expect to come face to face with Mary, who hasn’t replied to his letters of late. What is she doing in London? And how is she involved with this sorry business of murder? Still, despite the tension between the two, they make a good team as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding them.

From the elegant drawing rooms of Mayfair to the reeking slums of St. Giles, the two must use every bit of wit and logic they possess to uncover a killer, all the while, trying to puzzle out the workings of their own hearts.

Join Mary Bennet, Lizzy’s often overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice, and her intriguing and handsome friend Alexander Lyons, as they are pulled into the world of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in this, their latest adventure.

All About Riana

Riana Everly is an award-winning author of romance, both contemporary and historical, and historical mysteries.

Born in South Africa, she moved to Canada as a child, bringing with her two parents, two younger sisters, and too many books. Yes, they were mysteries. From those early days of The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, she graduated to Nancy Drew, and then to the Grande Dames of classical English whodunnits, including Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. Others followed, and many sleepless nights ensued.

When not matching wits with Miss Marple and Adam Dalgliesh, Riana keeps busy researching those little, but so-important, details for her next fabulous novel.

Trained as a classical musician, Riana has degrees in Music History and Medieval Studies, and enjoys photography, hiking, travelling, learning obscure languages, and experimenting with new recipes. If they include chocolate, all the better.

Connect with Riana


This title is currently available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

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May 18, 2023

Thank you so much for hosting Riana Everly today, Brook! Cathie xo

The Coffee Pot Book Club

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